Despite the various reports that are out there hinting that the Dallas Cowboys are only one player away from making a Super Bowl run; they’re not. The truth is, they already have the players to make a Super Bowl run. They get an opportunity to add to that group in the 2017 NFL draft, and they should take every advantage of that.
This year’s draft will offer up depth that can really help the Cowboys get better as a whole and that shouldn’t be traded for the ability of one particular player. We’ve seen folks dabble with the idea of trading up and we’ve even seen the consensus first-overall pick, Myles Garrett, “jokingly” plead with Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett to save him from the Cleveland Browns. Here’s the issue, Myles Garrett isn’t worth the capital it would take to get the number one pick. In fact, this is a year, in which, at least in the first round, Dallas should just pick where they are.
In recent memory, the Cowboys have been unsuccessful when trading up, both times for defensive players. They traded up with the Rams for the sixth-overall pick in 2012 to draft Morris Claiborne and he’s never played a full season of football. They traded up with the Washington Redskins in 2014 to get the “last right defensive end” left in DeMarcus Lawrence. Unfortunately, Lawrence has been slowed by injuries as well and is now freshly removed from his second back surgery, one in which put J.J. Watt on the shelf for the entire 2016 season.
We’re not sure what talents the Cowboys will be staring at with the 28th pick but at least we know this class stretches at the positions they need most. Trading up will only result in losing another player the team make like in rounds two through four where perhaps they could see high value.
On the Draft Show, Bryan Broaddus, Dane Brugler, and Dave Helman spoke about how the secondary players in this draft will really help teams make a bigger jump in 2017. Cornerbacks and safeties deeper in the draft may offer a better bang for the buck. Especially, in reference to cornerbacks, Brugler believes that you can find starters well into the top of the fourth round. If that’s the case, why would you be looking to trade up in the first and jeopardize your later picks? Considering that the Cowboys are without a fifth-rounder (good trade bait), they can ill-afford zeroes in the later rounds.
For the most part, it’s the middle to later rounds that produce the majority of the talent that you build your roster out of. Trading up in the draft is not the best way to get value and is often a ploy of a desperate team. The opposite could be said for trading back, even if the Cowboys traded back a few picks in the first, they could pick up another pick in the middle rounds, where the value may be very strong. Draft picks are important, look at teams like New England, they stockpile picks and use them as collateral for draft years to come. They have been so successful that they can even have their first-round picks stripped and still walk away draft day winners.
As of late, the Dallas Cowboys have done a phenomenal job in the first round finding players that help their team. It also helps that they have taken less risky picks in the past several years with Claiborne being the only true bust. They often go for players that they know are at the top of their position groupings. People lost their minds when Dallas traded back with the 49er’s a few years back and drafted Travis Frederick. Who takes a center in the first round? Now, in his fifth season, Frederick is a three-time Pro Bowler, two-time Second-Team All-Pro, and a First-Team All-pro. He’s also started all 64 games of his career.
When you trade up in the draft, it’s like robbing Peter to pay Paul. The Cowboys have plenty of positions that could use an upgrade or reinforcements. They are already a great team that can compete for a championship. What they need now is to add as much talent as they can get their hands on and figure the rest out later. there is a cluster of guys like Takkarist McKinley, Taco Charlton, and Charles Harris. They’re all around the same positions in this year’s class; none of them are worth trading up to get. You could be happy with any of them at pick 28, the same goes for a few cornerbacks that will be there as well.
When it comes to a class like this, there should be excitement in making your picks. This is how the Cowboys like to butter their bread as they have changed their philosophy entirely on free agency. We’ll take no issue at all if Dallas moves around in the middle or later rounds get a guy but just sit tight at 28. No reason to get cute because this team needs players, not just one guy that can sell some jerseys and excitement for one day. Trading up is putting all your eggs in one basket and hoping for the best, how often do those trades take teams straight to the top? The Cowboys should be focused solely on bringing more talented players into the fold, therefore maximizing your ability to hit. Who said you can’t have quantity and quality?